Lok Sabha elections 2019: Expect a fierce three-way battle in the land of Mahabharata
In all there are 24 candidates in fray here, including 11 independents.Updated: May 08, 2019, 01:00 IST
The battle of Kurukshetra was being considered a direct fight between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Nayab Saini and Congress’ Nirmal Singh, until Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo OP Chautala fielded his grandson Arjun, making the power struggle more fierce and complex.
In all there are 24 candidates in fray here, including 11 independents.
CASTE CALCULATIONS HOLD THE KEY
With over four lakh Jat votes and an equal number of OBC votes, the seat is considered a hotbed of caste politics.
But it is the two lakh Dalit, 1.5 lakh Brahmin and one lakh each of Aggarwal and Punjabi community votes that are being considered a deciding factor.
Even though Jats are a majority here, Kurukshetra has never elected a Jat MP. Most MPs elected from here belong to the Saini community, which is why BJP replaced its rebel MP Raj Kumar Saini with another Saini and sitting minister Nayab Saini.
The Congress is going with its old guard Nirmal Singh as its two-time MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal backed out at the last minute.
Despite being an outsider, Singh is getting good support of local Congress leaders with Jindal himself campaigning for him.
The INLD too was eyeing four lakh Jat votes when it fielded Arjun Chautala from the seat. Similarly, INLD’s offshoot Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), which has an alliance with Aam Aadmi Party, also played caste card by fielding a Brahmin, Jai Bhagwan Sharma.
But Jai Bhagwan, a BJP turncoat, appears to be a lightweight candidate in front of the others.
All the mainstream party contenders are contesting their first Lok Sabha election except Shashi Saini of the LSP-BSP alliance, who had lost her security deposit in the last election from Kurukshetra.
Retaining the seat may not exactly be a cakewalk for the BJP as party is facing criticism from Jats for not taking action against Raj Kumar Saini, the most vocal critic of the Jat quota.
Since INLD, JJP and Congress are eyeing Jat votes, the BJP’s main focus is on the OBC, Brahmin and Punjabi community votes. Even a division in Jat votes may help Nayab, who is the only OBC candidate among the main contenders.
LOCAL ISSUES TAKE A BACK SEAT
None of the candidates are looking at the local issues of people. While the BJP is seeking votes on national security, its opponents are busy criticising it. “Every vote given to the BJP will boost our national security,” Nayab Saini said addressing a gathering in Kurukshetra.
On the other hand, Nirmal focuses on targeting the BJP.
“The BJP did not do anything to fulfil its promises made in the last election and now they are seeking votes on the issue of Pakistan,” he said during a rally adding, “The BJP does not have the courage to face the voters and it is hiding itself behind the valour of the Army.”
Arjun also is making emotional appeals to voters, terming his candidature as a call of duty and decision of his jailed grandfather.
“Your Arjun is fighting this Dharam Yudh for you and it is up to you how you would protect me from the Kauravas,” he tells voters in Kaithal.
A former sarpanch from Ladwa block, pleading anonymity, said, “Last election, we voted for Modi not for the MP and he did not return. This time again, they are seeking votes for Modi, but about the problems of people.”